Dear Mr. or Ms. Airline Executive,
I just wanted to send a note to say how much I thoroughly enjoyed my recent flight with your company.
Let me start by saying how impressed I was with all of the options I had regarding my seating. It has been a while since I’ve flown and the different chair configurations offered online clearly shows that somebody at HQ is really doing their homework!
Back in the old days we only had a few choices: first class, business and coach. I am happy to report to other infrequent fliers that such a stringent system is no longer.
The many and varied section types included food for those who might be hungry. Thankfully there was also the “absolutely no food” possibility for folks like me who fast regularly and would only be tempted by the sight of anything that resembled nourishment. (Truth is, I wasn’t actually fasting before the flight, but not being able to afford the triangular-packaged sandwich and the delightfully gelatinous and shrink-wrapped side dish thrust me toward abstinence. The cleanse has begun, so thank you again!)
As I scrolled through your website, I also noticed a bevy of seat sizes. You have generously thought of everyone. There were the seats with almost no legroom for medium-sized people so that there’s less opportunity to lose belongings under what was once a sea of space beneath the chairs. As well, there was the “no legroom whatsoever” option for folks who are insecure about their height and want to feel taller, and for those who—just spit-balling here—feel safer in a womb-like environment. Either way, win-win.
If you have a chance to respond to this letter, please let me know if my womb theory is correct. I chose this “no legroom” option just to test my hypothesis … so I’d love to know if I’m right. And for the record, I’ve never felt safer. The person in the space next to me was so close that when we landed it actually felt like we were twins being pulled through the same birth canal. (Sorry for the technical language, but I’m kind of an amateur medical buff.) Would I be acting too giddy if I added another win to my win-win statement above?!
Another great innovation is all the inventive section names. I mean who couldn’t find a group to belong to with all the different options?
There was the first-class section, which must be reserved for giants. I mean like freaks. Potentially nine-foot-tall, Guinness-material, circus folk. Between you and me, I felt a little sorry for them. To be honest though, I never saw the passengers from my back-of-the-plane womb. I am just assuming they suffered from gigantism because of their La-Z-Boy-sized seats.
Then there was the business class. Again, I never saw these folks either because the incredibly efficient flight attendant (is it flight attendant or stewardess? I can never remember) quickly pulled the curtain shut between them and the orgy of humanity I was lucky enough to be involved with.
Speaking of which, it was in my stable of fliers that the seating variety really got fun! There was the super economy class. These folks had armrests. Nice touch on your part, I might add. Then there was the economy class with the aforementioned reduced legroom (but downside: still room enough to lose a shoe if one could reach it to pull it off … Ew!). Then there was the budget economy. I’m fairly certain these folks got something to nibble on. Was it peanuts? If you do write back, I’d love to know.
I chose the very bohemian sounding “ghetto class.” Man, did we have a good time.
There was that one time when me and my “brother from another mother” actually made eye contact when the person in front of us reclined their seat and pushed my face toward his. Then there was another time when we … oh I won’t bore you with my tales … I am certain you’ve seen and heard it all!
The one “potential” downside of the ghetto class was the lack of bathroom privileges. But honestly, who flies so they can use the bathroom? Plus, I was granted the opportunity to focus on two things during the five-hour flight. First, I’ve always had a weak bladder so I had the chance to meditate hard on that personal flaw. And second, I played a little game I like to call “guess that smell.” I’ve got to imagine I am not the first person in the ghetto class to play that intoxicatingly fun way to pass the time.
I also chose “the ghetto”—as I heard folks behind me lovingly call our area (I mean the word class was just getting in the way)—because I was hoping to experience a little diversity during my flight. And experience it I did! (Not that I know if I really did though because I don’t see color when I see people. I know people like to say that, but I really don’t. I don’t even know my own color.)
My diversity epiphany came when I heard somebody grumbling about the lack of space for a backpack in the overhead compartment. While I was thinking how lucky the person was to even have a backpack, much less a swanky “overhead” compartment to store it in, I heard another person whisper: “white people problems.” That’s when it hit me: white people have problems! Right then and there I decided I would find somewhere to volunteer for these problem-riddled white people the moment I got off the plane.
Have I already used up my quota of “wins?” Can I add a fourth? Dare I say win-win-win-win?
In closing, simply, thanks! The moment I regain feeling in my legs I am going to mail this letter. If you do get around to replying and still give away those little wings I used to get as a kid, I’d be ever-so grateful.
On behalf of my womb mate and myself, keep looking out for the little guy … but look who I’m talking to. Of course you will.
Airborne and Loving it
Alex Crevar is Paste’s travel editor. He splits time between Europe and the United States … but typically makes the voyage via steamer.